CHICAGO — As the 2022 Olympic games came to an end in Beijing last week, Olympic athletes from all around the world began their journeys home to share stories of triumph and defeat and exotic new COVID variants with their home nations and cities. Chicago welcomed back its athletes early this week with a small ceremony, awarding each competitor a traditional garland of sport peppers.
Sport peppers, the official pepper of sports, have long been awarded to athletes from the Illinois region to symbolize their victory and provide them with a salty, tangy snack to replenish lost vigor. These days we mostly enjoy these pickled peppers as one of fifty-five garnishes for our hot dogs, but to welcome back our local Olympians, it’s time to break out the finest jar of the spicy, tangy, weirdly crunchy peppers and string them together with dental floss!
“I worked my whole life training for a shot at Olympic gold,” said Emery Lehman, who competed in Speed Skating for the US team, “winning the bronze medal was great, but what really feels good is coming home and knowing my hometown is proud of me. The ceremony was really nice, they offered to dump au jus over me, but I declined.”
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As our fine Chicago athletes celebrate their return from Beijing, they can enjoy nibbles from their garlands and another gift from the city: a coupon for a free one-topping pizza at Aurelio’s Pizza! Welcome home!